Looking forward to 2024 there are many of you I’m sure who have made resolutions and new goals for the coming year, writes NFU Cymru President Aled Jones.

Perhaps you’ve chosen to do more exercise, to focus on your wellbeing, or to eat a more balanced diet; whatever your ambition I hope you will also make a pledge to give consideration to where your food comes from and how it is produced.

The past few years have brought us challenges for agriculture, such as the hike in energy costs, inflation and new farming policies, as well as budgetary pressures and on-going conflict in Europe and the Middle East. Despite all the challenges that our society has faced I am proud that Welsh farmers have continued doing what they do best, providing the country with safe, affordable, high quality healthy and nutritious food.

By supporting Welsh farmers not only will you be supporting your local communities, but you will also be keeping food miles low with a minimum impact on the environment, all while eating and drinking healthy, nutritious Welsh produce. Food imported from other countries can often come with higher carbon footprints and negative overall environmental impact, or even practices that are banned or strictly controlled here in the UK.

Wales is one of the most sustainable places on earth to produce red meat. Our livestock eat predominately grass and these pastures absorb and store thousands of tonnes of carbon while maintaining our iconic landscapes that support a wealth of biodiversity.

Farmers here in Wales are not complacent about the risks of climate change and the need to do more and NFU Cymru’s net zero by 2040 goal is proof of this. We have an ambition to produce the most climate friendly food in the world and want to ensure consumers can continue to enjoy a sustainable, healthy and balanced diet of nutritious food produced here in Wales.

Red meat is naturally rich in high quality protein, low in salt and provides a range of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that contribute to good health, including iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Protein supports bone maintenance and helps muscle growth. Lean beef is a fantastic source of iron, which in turn can reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Milk is also a fantastic source of nutrients including protein, calcium and vitamins B2 and B12, and at least three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese are recommended each day. This is even more important for youngsters with a 189ml carton of semi-skimmed milk providing 42% of a seven to 10-year-olds recommended daily calcium intake and 24% of their recommended protein intake.

We also produce many other great products in Wales with our egg producers keeping the nation stocked with a great source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals.

So as you start to restock the fridge in January, think about the products you are buying, don’t just reach for the same things you always buy; check the labels and buy local produce to back Welsh farmers.